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Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Cover Reveal: The Wingspan Of Treason by L. N. Bayen

 


Official Author Twitter

 Q] Welcome to Fantasy Book Critic Lamia. To start with, could you tell us what inspired you to be a writer in the first place?

LNB: Thank you for the warm welcome!


Writing was inevitable. My early childhood in Aleppo, Syria, were coloured by a rich oral storytelling tradition. There were many power outages and almost no television, and the grown ups entertained us with folk tales and poems. Those stories at my grandmother's knee were where the trouble began - and even now shape the way I write; I do love a bit of telling in a story, and not just perpetual showing.

When I moved to England, Narnia and the Shire and the like became the gateway to learning English. After that, there was no going back. Later, writing became a means of mourning what I had left behind.

Q] Why did you choose to go the self-published route?

LNB: I briefly queried this book and was met with one insurmountable obstacle: a mammoth word count (for a debut). I wasn't prepared to compromise the story, and there was no natural splitting point. I also quickly realised my day job won’t currently allow me to meet last minute traditional publishing deadlines. And once I got a a taste of controlling my own work and the creative process, there was no letting go of the reins...!

 

Q] The artwork for The Wingspan Of Treason is beyond dazzling (to say the least). What were your main pointers for your cover artist as you both went through the process of finalizing it? What were the main things that you wished to focus on in it?

LNB: Thank you kindly! It was actually difficult to distil a long epic down to one unified image. I didn't want to focus on weapons or warriors for this book - which I feared would minimise its metaphysical themes, though they're more conventional for the genre and do inspire beautiful, dramatic art. The story follows the metamorphosis of a repressed mapmaker and features a lot of avian mythology, and I'm slightly obsessed with astronomical instruments ... so in the end, the cover put itself together!

I illustrate by hand and agonised for weeks over which medium to use, in order to achieve a result that might aspire to the ranks of the stunning digitally produced covers that have been wowing us in recent years. I'll just say it was the most wearying coloured pencil drawing I've done to date and I never want to draw a circle ever again...

 

Q] Let’s talk about how The Wingspan Of Treason came to fruition? What was your inspiration for this fantasy story?

LNB: The story began fairly organically in 2016. I had very little reading time and craved something I wasn't finding (beyond the books I’d already read and loved to death), so I wrote the book I wanted to read. They say write what you know, so I did - cultures of many colours, tribalism and sectarianism, drought, war, migration, displacement, social injustice, spirituality. Then COVID19 hit during the early edits and writing became a much-needed escape from work.

Q] Can you tell us more about the world that The Wingspan Of Treason is set in? What are the curiosities (geographical, mystical, etc.) of this world?

LNB: This book is set in a world of Seven Parts, namely the Silfren Part, which is half lush, half desert (both icy and arid). The story's foundation was conceived around a strategic river dam and its many enduring, destructive impacts on land, resources, society and commerce... on everything. In Syria I learned to respect the availability of clean water and to fear regular shortages of it; this appreciation was a core building block of the story. 


The book also features clever minibeasts that humans use both as companions and for their special (non-magical) senses, who I'm probably too fond of and who have taken over my illustrations...! Sentience animates various physical substances of this world in the form of “slight matter” that people have almost forgotten how to sense, understand and harness – a forgotten science waiting to awaken.

 

Q] Is The Wingspan Of Treason going to the first book of a series? What can you reveal about your plans for the series (number of books)? Is there a series title?

LNB: This is the first book of a planned five. Guilty confession: I'm still grappling with a series title. Watch this space.

 

Q] Can you share something about the book that is not mentioned in the blurb and why should fans should be excited for this new story?

LNB: The blurb follows the central plot, but the story is a multi-POV third person web of several narratives. The book is also full of my illustrations, which I hope will bring some of its scenes and themes to life. A book about a mapmaker is incomplete without maps, and maps are not merely accessories to this story - they will grow to become as important as the characters who rely upon them. There will many maps and much artwork to come!

 

Q] For someone who has not read any of your novels, how would you describe the type of stories that you write?

LNB: I've tried to write character-driven narratives in fully-fledged worlds that are still relatable despite the fantastical elements, and which really employ only a modicum of magic - because reality is more fantastic than we often appreciate.

Arabic is my first language and I wrote poetry before prose, and I’ve been told these facts show in both my fantasy and literary stories.

 

Q] In closing, do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to share with our readers?

LNB: Thank you for reading this far! THE WINGSPAN OF TREASON will hopefully be listed for pre-orders by the end of the summer, and I would be honoured to share it with you.

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Release date: Tuesday 3rd September 2024!

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Invelmar. A great kingdom boasting unrivalled peace and a brutal grip over the known world. A kingdom built with blood.

Former Invelmari prince Klaus surrendered everything to it. Now he’s fleeing a shattering betrayal and wondering why his parents want to kill him.

Neighbouring Derinda – a once-magnificent realm devastated by Invelmar’s damming of its mighty river – may offer Klaus a new life mapping distant roads. But feuding Derinda makes poor refuge for a fugitive mapmaker, and there’s no peace from his questions here. Questions about who his real family are. Questions about the sentient particles awakening in Derinda’s desert, intent on unearthing the devastating secret buried in its sands…

Because this desert wind is thick with poets and pirates, shamans and spaewives, and the answers are far worse than Klaus could have imagined. His loyalties to his beloved home are fast unravelling, and the desert clamours for a trial of Invelmar’s crimes. But can he separate vengeance from justice?

Does he even want to?

TRUTH IS A KNIFE. LOYALTY’S A CAGE. NO ONE IS INNOCENT.


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